Roosters fullback James Tedesco says he didn't know a great deal about budding Storm flyer Ryan Papenhuyzen when both were on the books at Concord but remembers the young speedster cutting senior players "to pieces" at training.
Papenhuyzen left the Tigers because his path was blocked by established star Tedesco and has lit up Bleak City this year, forcing established halfback Brodie Croft out of the 17 in a reshuffle with a series of explosive performances.
Tedesco recalls the young speedster burning more established players at Tiger training back in the day and praised the way he plays above his weight every week for the minor premiers.
"He's awesome; he's obviously a little fella and his speed is his best trait but he's not getting manhandled out there and he's not getting overpowered," Tedesco said.
"It shows he's got a lot of power in his body and he'll only get bigger."
Tedesco had some recollections of Papenhuyzen despite the youngster being outside the full-time squad when they were both in the Tigers system.
"I remember he was coming through, I don't think it was full time, just training a few sessions here and there when I was there," Tedesco said.
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"Whenever he came up and filled in you could see he was a talented player and he had that speed and he'd cut the boys to pieces a few times.
"It wasn't too much but whenever he came up people knew how good he was and he was always a talent that was coming through the grades and going to be something special. He's probably had a breakout year this year and shown people what he can do."
In five games since assuming the No.1 jersey full time, Papenhuyzen has averaged an incredible 211 metres with seven line breaks, three tries and nearly six tackle busts per game. Tedesco said the Roosters needed to limit his room to move with the ball.
"When he's got space and time, that's when he shows his speed so [it's about] pressuring the line in his face and not giving him that much time and cutting down speed and his time with the ball," Tedesco said.
"Sometimes there's times when it's pretty hard to combat that but that's a strategy."
The two teams have one win apiece this year since the Roosters dominated the Storm in last year's grand final, with the Roosters winning by a point in round six and the Storm by two in round 15.
Although it was before his full-time move to the back, Papenhuyzen started the second of those matches at the back with Jahrome Hughes missing that game so won't exactly be an unknown threat.
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"He started the last game in Adelaide. It's nothing out of the ordinary, we know what he's like and he's been playing some really good footy," Tedesco said.
"I don't come up against him one on one too many times, it's more about us as a team defending him well and limiting his opportunities.
"It's going to be a tough game no matter what. It will probably go down to the wire again. On the weekend they were really impressive against Parramatta.
"In the first game against Melbourne I think we went up to a 20-0 lead then they came back as well so no matter what happens it's going to come down to the last minute or last five minutes so it has to be an 80-minute performance which we haven't completed this year so it's going to be a big challenge for us.
"Because they're so structurally good in defence and attack it's harder to break them down but we can watch stuff from the weekend and stuff we did earlier on in the year and see what we did well and try and execute that again."
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